Latest: Woman thanks man who took her home after alleged rape by rugby players

LatestA woman has thanked a man for taking her home after she claims she was raped by two Irish rugby internationals.

The alleged victim said she was grateful that Rory Harrison (aged 25) from Manse Road in Belfast, called a taxi and travelled with her following her alleged ordeal.

She said he genuinely tried to console her.

Harrison is not charged with rape. He denies charges of perverting the course of justice and withholding information as part of the same rape trial.

Paddy Jackson (aged 26) from Oakleigh Park in Belfast, and Stuart Olding (aged 24) from Ardenlee Street also in the city, deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June 2016.

When the woman disclosed to Harrison in text messages later that morning what allegedly happened, his first response was one word - "Jesus".

The rape is alleged to have happened during the early hours of June 28, 2016 at an after party in Jackson's home following a night out in a Belfast club.

Harrison was at the house drinking, Belfast Crown Court was told.

He told his lawyer he only met the alleged victim at the house once, and she was fully-clothed.

Rory Harrison arrives at Belfast Crown Court. Pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

She said: "I have absolutely no complaint with him, he took me home and I am grateful for that."

She said she was crying and in a distressed state during the early morning taxi journey home.

She said: "I was extremely unsettled, yes, I had just been raped."

"I can confirm I was extremely upset, I was not screaming, but I was crying a lot."

Harrison walked her up the driveway and checked if there was someone at home, asked her if she was OK and gave her a hug, his lawyer said.

She said: "I believe Mr Harrison's actions were quite genuine."

She added: "He was trying to console me. But I don't think he was aware of what happened."

She said she could not really remember exactly what he was saying, but insisted he was aware by later that morning when she texted him.

She told him she knew he must be mates with the others in the house that night, but she did not like them.

In text messages the following morning she told Harrison: "What happened was not consensual. Thanks for taking me home."

She said his response was "Jesus".

He added in a later text: "I am not sure what to say."

She said he appeared surprised by her claims.

When she got home, she realised there was blood on the inside of her jeans.

But she told Harrison's defence counsel Gavin Duffy QC it was fair to suggest that Harrison was unlikely to have noticed anything about her clothing.

She said Harrison told her the name of a third man allegedly at the house, Blane McIlroy (aged 26) of Royal Lodge Road, Ballydollaghan, Belfast, who is accused of one count of exposure.

Throughout proceedings, the four defendants sat alongside each other in the dock.

The woman gave evidence from behind a curtain, relayed to the court through a screen.

The judge Patricia Smyth again warned the jury to ignore internet comment on the case, which was adjourned for the day.

- PA

Earlier: Woman accusing rugby players of rape says actions of their friend were 'genuine'

A woman who claims she was raped by two Ireland rugby players said today that she believes the actions of one of their friends afterwards were "genuine".

She was cross-examined this morning by Rory Harrison’s barrister.

Mr Harrison (aged 25) from Manse Road in Belfast, is accused of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

The court heard he brought her home in a taxi after the alleged incident and she told police that she did not think he was aware of what happened.

Ulster rugby teammates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding deny raping the woman at Jackson’s home in Belfast in June 2016.

More to follow.

- Digital desk

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